It’s that time of the year again. Time for resolutions, hangovers, Santa caps and tinsel. In the midst of all the holiday mayhem perhaps you could try a rather unique way of ushering in the New Year.
Gujarat’s Rann of Kutch, which by the way is the world’s largest salt desert, offers a fascinating experience. The annual two-month-long Rann Utsav revels in the many hued adventures that the state has to offer. This year the festival commenced on 15th of December and is set to conclude by the 15th of February 2014.
INTO THE TENT CITY
The unearthly and startling white salt flats of the Great Rann of Kutch serve as the site for the sprawling Tent City set up by the Government of Gujarat. Each year numerous tents are erected over a vast area of the salt flats which then become the virtual epicentre for the festival. The aptly named Tent City, which is about 80 kms from Bhuj, houses about 350 luxurious air-conditioned, fully-furnished tents for travellers visiting the festival (talk about ‘glamping’ right?!).
The Tent City contains a food court offering up a huge drool-worthy spread of local Gujarati delicacies. Most evenings are full of cultural programs showcasing the local dances and music of Gujarat.
The tented complex also contains an exclusive area for the artisans of Kutch where a number of handicrafts are exhibited and sold. The works include beautiful painted pottery, intricate and exquisite wood carvings from a nearby village called Gandhi ka Gaon and handcrafted Kutchi leather. The famous Kutch traditions of hand embroidery, mirror work and bandhini in vibrant colours are also available to see here. Even lesser-known but equally praiseworthy cloth decorating styles such as Rogan art from the small village of Nirona are given recognition and a place of pride in the festival. In short, this part of the festival is heavenly for all shopaholic souls!
FOR ADVENTURE JUNKIES
For people who need some adrenalin-pumping action, apart from the usual camel rides into the desert, the festival offers para-sailing, hang-gliding and even bungee-jumping! You could also try racing around on the all-terrain dune buggies. Another option is to take a long ride in a hot-air balloon over the great unending salt flats.
Apart from all the activities that will keep you busy within the Tent City (and believe us there are quite a few!), there are daily tours organised into other parts of the surrounding region. A popular trip is a ride to Kalo Dungar which is the highest point in Kutch and from where you can witness a panoramic view of the Great Rann. Other places of interest worth seeing are the Madavi beach and Dholavira which is an excavation site of the ancient Harappan civilisation. Kutch is also a birdwatcher’s paradise, being home to over 350 species of birds including the migratory Lesser Flamingo.
Last but definitely not the least, one should NOT miss the sight of the glittering salts under the full moon light. All-in-all the Rann Utsav presents a splendid opportunity to see this stark land bloom into a vividly coloured spectacle. It is well-worth an entry into anyone’s bucket list!
Tejasvi Hari Krishna
Latest posts by Tejasvi Hari Krishna (see all)
- World’s Best Cities for Art Lovers - January 26, 2021
- The Northern Lights - A Bucket-List Must! - January 17, 2021
- Razzle Dazzle in Amsterdam - A Virtual Tour of Red Light District - January 8, 2021